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Space Boffins

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Space Boffins'The Naked Scientists'? Based at Cambridge University, the Naked Scientists are a team of scientists, doctors and communicators whose passion is to help the general public to understand and engage with the worlds of science, technology and medicine.

Created and launched in 2001 by Chris Smith, the Naked Scientists was one of the first podcasts to exist and is now one of the world's most popular science shows, achieving over 50 million programme 'listens' in the last 5 years.


Space Boffins Show Archive:

Remarkable Women: A hidden history

Thursday 16th May 2019

Space Boffin Sue Nelson interviews two remarkable women for this podcast: Hidden Figure Christine Darden and Mercury 13 legend and astronaut wannabe, Wally Funk. Darden, who featured in the book Hidden Figures, worked at NASA for 40 years as a mathematician, computer programmer and sonic boom expert. Sue's book, Wally Funk's Race for Space, is out in paperback in June. To celebrate its release, we learn more about Funk as she reveals her incredible history and the continued drive to get into space through mementoes at her home in Texas - featuring walk on parts from Eileen Collins, Valentina Tereshkova and Osama Bin Laden

Giant Rockets to the Moon

Wednesday 10th April 2019

The Space Boffins get to see inside the NASA's famous Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre - a building so large that it has its own weather system. It's being adapted so that NASA's Saturn V replacement the new SLS or Space Launch System rocket will be built. The senior NASA engineer who's overseeing the project, Ken Tenbusch, gives Richard Hollingham a personal tour. Back in the studio Richard and Sue (Nelson) are joined by rocket expert David Wade and Oliver Morton, author of The Moon: A History for the Future. There's also an insight into Gene Cernan's experience during Apollo 10 from an interview recorded with the astronaut shortly before he died to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the mission.

Spacecraft Reunited

Monday 11th March 2019

This month Space Boffins contemplates the missing universe, the nature of humanity and reunites astronaut Nicole Stott with her Space Shuttle Atlantis. Richard Hollingham is joined by theoretical physicist and comedian Dr Fran Day to discuss a new European mission, Euclid, which will be investigating dark matter. He also chats to NASA's new chief flight director in mission control Houston, Holly Ridings, and we hear from Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart about his revelations from orbit. You can follow Space Boffins on twitter, @SpaceBoffins.

Astrofest Live!

Monday 11th February 2019

Space Boffins are live on stage at Astrofest 2019 in London with a stellar line-up of guests to discuss landing on Phobos, weirdly-shaped space rocks and Europe's mission to Mercury. They're joined by science writer Stuart Clark, the Japanese Space Agency's Elizabeth Tasker, New Horizons scientist Simon Porter and Suzie Imber, who's working on the BepiColombo mission. Also featuring live audience participation with how best to pronounce Houston and, completely unrehearsed, audience whooping.

Flying Hotdogs

Wednesday 16th January 2019

Mice and flying hotdogs on the podcast as we report from NASA on how to save Apollo's famous mission control and discuss China's landing on the far side of the Moon. Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham are in Milton Keynes where they are joined by Dave Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University. Richard hits the jackpot, however, with a tour of a threatened, nicotine stained national historic monument - the iconic mission control at NASA Johnson Space Centre in Houston. Historic preservation officer Sandra Tetley is his guide and reveals how mission control's pneumatic tubes weren't always used for messages

Mission to the Moon

Thursday 13th December 2018

Apollo 8 commander, Frank Borman, joins Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson in this month's podcast. Fifty years ago Apollo 8 became the first manned mission to orbit the Moon and so the podcast has a lunar theme. Recorded at the Royal Astronomical Society in London, guests include Dr Robert Massey and art historian Dr Alexandra Loske, authors of Moon: Art, Science, Culture. There's also an appearance by former European astronaut Thomas Reiter, who discusses the joint NASA and ESA plans for the Moon with Orion, and Caroline Geraghy explains how her son Hayden became the inspiration for a space-inspired Lottie doll.

Don't call me Fruit Loops!

Monday 12th November 2018

The Space Boffins podcast is in New York with NASA astronaut, engineer and Big Bang Theory star Mike Massimino. Recorded on the Hudson River from the flight deck of the USS Intrepid - where Massimino works once a week - Space Boffins Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson are also joined by the Sea, Air Space Museum's curator of aviation, Eric Boehm. Add a report on archiving space missions with NASA TV audio engineer Greg Wiseman and you have a NASAtastic edition and yes, we do discuss fruit loops

Space Boffins Live - ESA Special

Wednesday 10th October 2018

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli joins Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham for a podcast special recorded at the European Space Agency's ESTEC facility in The Netherlands during their Open Day. Thousands of people travel from across Europe and beyond to see where the European Space Agency tests its spacecraft before launch and the birthplace of many of its science missions. Joining the ever entertaining Nespoli on the Space Rocks stage is space debris expert Luisa Innocenti, head of ESA's Clean Space Office, on better alternatives for spacecraft materials plus trainee aerospace engineer Marta de Oliveira, who is working on a proposed future mission to Venus called EnVision.

Spy Satellite Special

Tuesday 11th September 2018

In a special edition of Space Boffins, Richard Hollingham meets a man rarer than a Moonwalker - a spy satellite engineer. Phil Pressel led the team that built the camera for the Hexagon spy satellite system - the most complicated satellite ever launched. Hexagon took pictures on 30 miles of film and returned it to Earth in cannisters, which were captured by aircraft. The interview includes revelations about the capabilities of the satellite, secrecy and Phil's incredible upbringing. Did spy satellites help prevent World War 3? You decide

Space Boffins Blast Off!

Friday 10th August 2018

It's a rocket special on this month's Space Boffins with Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham. As the UK's plans for a Spaceport forge ahead, two microlauncher companies are at the forefront of a commercial space race for launching small satellites from the UK. Sue hears from Orbex's Chris Larmour andSkyrora's Daniel Smith to find out what they have planned. Richard reports from the European spaceport Vega C launch pad in French Guiana with engineer Marco Calcabrini and inside the Ariane 5 and Vega control room with Jean-Marc Durand from Arianespace. Astronomer and science writer Stuart Clark joins the Space Boffins to discuss rockets, UK space and Aeolus, the world's first wind monitoring satellite, and agrees to play their 1969 board game Blast Off - something they all come to regret.